Skip to content

How To Fix A Bad Drywall Job That Has Been Painted

If you have ever attempted to do a drywall repair and ended up with a bad job that has been painted, you know how frustrating it can be. Even slight imperfections can stick out like a sore thumb once the wall is painted. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, it is possible how to fix a bad mud job on painted drywall. Before you begin the repair process, you must identify the issues with your existing drywall.

Look for separated paper, uneven coat seams, small holes, or punctured bubbles of a bad mud job. Ensure to remove any loose drywall mud or have removed tape before you start sanding the area. You must use a putty knife to carry out a patch job and apply a skim coat of mud to the entire wall. To ensure a smooth finish, you must apply several coats of mud, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one.

You can use a drywall knife to apply the mud and a pole sander to sand the surface in between each coat. Once the first mud application has dried completely, you can start sanding the area to achieve an even coat. After the area is sanded, you can spray texture on the wall if needed or prime the entire wall before applying the final coat of wall paint.

In our guide, you can find all the tools you need, and all the appropriate steps for how to fix a poor or bad mud job on painted drywall repair. By the end, you’ll better understand how to apply a drywall compound or joint compound over paint and then add some drywall primer to the drywall compound to get the best finish possible on your walls. (Learn How To Run A Cable Through An Exterior Wall)

Fix a poor or bad mud job on painted drywall repair

Why Can You See Drywall Patches Through Paint?

If you have ever painted a wall and noticed that the drywall patches are visible through the paint, you are not alone. This is a common problem to occur when the drywall job is not done correctly. The reasons for this issue can vary, but it is often because of texture differences between patched and unpatched areas. Any unprimed drywall joint compound will absorb paint compared to the rest of your wall, resulting in visible drywall patches.

Identifying Problem Areas

Before you can fix the problem, you must identify the areas that are causing the issue. Some of the problem areas to cause drywall patches to show through paint include uneven seams, separated paper, loose tape, small holes, and tiny imperfections.

Tools Needed

To fix the issue, you will need some tools. Some of the tools you will need include a putty knife, drywall joint compound, drywall knife, sandpaper, and a paint roller. You may also need painter’s tape, drywall primer, and paint to complete the paint job yourself. To fix the issue, you must apply a coat of topping joint compound over the visible patches on the painted wall. Sand the topping compound to ensure it is level with the rest of the wall.

Apply a second coat of joint compound or mud, being careful to feather the edges to create a smooth finish. Allow the mud to dry overnight before applying a third coat more mud. After the final coat of mud has dried completely, sand the entire wall to create an even surface. Clean the wall with warm water and a strong detergent to remove any dust or debris. Once the wall is clean, prime the entire wall with drywall primer.

After the primer has dried, you can apply the final coat of paint. Be sure to use an even coat of paint to ensure the drywall patches do not show through. If you want to match apply texture to the surrounding wall texture, you can try spraying texture onto the wall.

In conclusion, if you have a bad drywall job that has been painted, you may notice drywall patches showing through the paint. This can be fixed by applying several coats of joint compound or mud and sanding the wall to create an even surface. Once the wall is smooth, you can prime and paint the wall to match the wall color and texture. (Learn How Long For Mortar To Set)

Things You Will Need

  • Sponge
  • Detergent
  • Paint scraper
  • Paintbrush
  • Drywall primer
  • Wall paint
  • Paint roller
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Drywall knives
  • Paper drywall tape
  • 1 1/2-inch drywall screws
  • Drill
  • Phillips bits
  • 120-grit sandpaper


If you don’t have an exact match for the wall color, prime the whole wall and paint it with the color you do have.

Using fiberglass mesh tape and hot mud to fix gaps that have cracked can help stop the cracks from coming back. Cracks usually mean your base is sinking, and even if you fix them, they may come back. Cover the floor with a plastic sheet so you don’t have to do a lot of work to clean it up when you’re done.

Tips in Fixing Drywall Paint

Fix Drywall on an Already Painted Wall

After a wall has been finished and painted, things like uneven plaster seams, nails that pop, cracks, and other flaws can show up. You can easily fix them, but you’ll probably have to prime the wall again, and you’ll have to paint it again for sure. Almost every fix to drywall is done with joint compound. It doesn’t stick well to gloss or semi-gloss paint, which is a shame. A coat of primer helps the paint stick, and you should add another one before painting. seals the fix and makes it easier to cover. (Learn How To Repair Water Damaged Particle Board Cabinets)

  1. Use a sponge soaked in a mix of detergent and warm water to clean the wall. To clean gloss or semi-gloss paint, use a strong cleaner like trisodium phosphate. It not only gets rid of grease and dirt, but it also erodes the finish and makes it easier for paint to stick.
  2. Use a paint scraper to remove any loose drywall mud from gaps where the paper is coming apart.
  3. Use a piece of the scraper to puncture bubbles that have formed in the tape. Pull the paper off or use a utility knife to cut it off. Use a dry paintbrush to get rid of any dust or loose mud that is still there.
  4. Put a layer of drywall paint on all the damaged areas. Brush it on or use a roller to spread it out, then wait for it to dry before going on.
  5. Use a 4-inch drywall blade to cover the gaps where you took off the tape with drywall joint compound, also called “mud.”
  6. After wetting the mud with water, lay paper drywall tape on it and smooth it out. Spread another layer of mud over the tape and smooth it out.
  7. Take out any drywall nails that have come loose and replace them with drywall screws that are 1 1/2 inches long.
  8. Using a drill and a No. 2 Phillips bit, push the screw heads about 1/16 inch past the top of the drywall. Cover the heads with mud to hide them.
  9. Use the sheetrock knife to remove the tape from seams that aren’t straight and then cover them with mud. Flat the mud with your knife.
  10. Let the first layer of mud dry overnight, and then put another layer on all the places you are fixing.
  11. Use a 6-inch knife to make a seam that goes farther into the wall and is bigger. Let that coat dry, and then use an 8-inch knife to add a third coat.
  12. Use 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out all the places you fixed. If the room doesn’t have enough light on its own, shine a work light at an angle on the wall to help you get them flat.
  13. You can often make a knock-down pattern by spraying texture from a can and then shaping it with a drywall knife when it hardens.

Repair Drywall Patches

4 Steps to Repair Drywall Patches Showing Through Paint

Apply a Coat of Topping Compound

If drywall patches show through a final paint job, the easiest way to remedy the situation is by applying a coat of topping joint compound. You can use hot mud if you’re in a rush. Apply your compound over the visible patches across the painted wall surface. It’s okay to do it right over the paint. Ensure that the topping compound is level with the whole wall.

Sand the Topping Compound

After applying the topping compound, let it dry overnight. Once it’s dry, sand the compound to ensure it is level with the rest of the wall. Use a pole sander with fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish.

Prime the Wall

Before painting the wall, prime it and apply drywall primer first. This step is essential to ensure the paint will adhere properly. Use a drywall primer and apply it to the entire wall. It should dry completely before moving on to the next step. (Learn How To Remove Paint From A Mirror)

Paint the Entire Wall

Once the primer is dry, paint the entire wall with your desired color. It’s best to use semi-gloss paint as it’s easy to clean and has a clean gloss finish. Apply the paint evenly to achieve an even first coat throughout. Depending on the texture and paint color, you must apply a second or third coat.

By following these four steps, you can fix a bad drywall mud over paint job that has been painted. Don’t worry about tiny holes or imperfections in painted drywall as they can be easily sanded and patched.

However, if you have wider seams or separated paper, you must apply several coats of mud or joint compound. Remember to let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next one. If you encounter any loose tape or mud anywhere, remove it with a putty or taping knife. For stubborn stains, use warm water and a strong detergent to clean the walls.

Fixing a bad drywall patch

How Do You Fix a Bad Drywall Patch That Has Been Painted?

Fixing a bad drywall patch that has already been painted can be daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, achieving a smooth, even finish is possible. Here are some steps to follow:

Priming the Wall

Before you start repairing the bad patch, you must prime the entire wall. This will ensure the new mud or joint compound will adhere properly to the existing paint and drywall. Use painter’s tape to protect drywall tape on the surrounding wall from getting any primer on it. Apply a coat of drywall primer using a roller, and let it dry completely.

Fixing the Bad Patch

Start using a utility knife to widen the seam that feathers out into the wall. This will create a wider seam that will be easier to fill with mud. Use a taping knife to coat the walls and seams and apply a coat of mud over the seam, covering it completely. Let the mud dry overnight. Once the mud is completely dry, use a sanding block to smooth out any bumps or rough spots. If there are still any tiny imperfections, apply another coat of mud and let it dry completely. Repeat this process until the seam is completely smooth.

Painting the Wall

Once the last coat of the mud has been applied and sanded down to a smooth finish, it’s time to paint the wall. Start by applying a coat of drywall primer over the entire wall. This will help the new paint adhere properly to the existing paint and drywall. After the primer has dried completely, apply two coats of paint using a roller or brush. Be sure to use the same type of paint that was used on the rest of the wall. If the rest of the wall has a semi-gloss finish, use a semi-gloss paint for the patch job. (Read Can You Paint Latex Over Acrylic)

When painting the patch, feather the paint out into the surrounding wall with a paintbrush. This will help the patch blend in with the rest of the wall. Let the paint dry completely before removing the painter’s tape. In conclusion, fixing a bad drywall patch that has already been painted requires a bit of patience and attention to detail. Still, it is definitely possible to achieve a smooth, even finish. By following these steps, you can ensure your drywall nails finished paint job looks just as good as the rest of the wall.

How To Fix A Bad Drywall Job That Has Been Painted